Search Traffic Beats Email, Social in Average Order Value

August 14, 2012

monetate-aov-by-traffic-source-q32011-q22012-aug2012.pngThe average order value (AOV) of website traffic from search in Q2 2012 was $90.40, almost 10% higher than traffic from email ($82.72), and more than 40% higher than traffic from social networks ($64.19), according to [download page] an August report from Monetate, which looked at a random sample of more than 100 million online shopping experiences, using same-store data from the previous quarter. Indeed, social network shoppers are not yet making a big dent in the online retail space: a July 2012 report from IBM found that shoppers referred to retail sites from social networks generated just 1.9% of all online sales in Q2, down from 2.4% in Q1.

Social Network Traffic AOV Steady Over Time

Data from Monetate’s “Ecommerce Quarterly EQ2 2012” indicates that while the AOV of traffic from social networks is lower than from the other sources, it has been steadier over the past year. Social’s AOV of $64.19 in Q2 was only slightly lower than its Q4 2011 AOV of $64.69, but higher than its AOV in Q3 2011 and Q1 2012. By contrast, search’s AOV of $90.42 in Q2 was down slightly from Q1 ($91.70), and represented a bigger drop from $101.25 in Q4 2011 and $104.24 in Q3. Email traffic’s AOV of $82.72 in Q2 was up from $79.08 in Q1, but down from $91.60 in Q4 and $84.58 in Q3. This suggests that traffic from email and search are more susceptible to seasonal swings than traffic from social networks.

Email Delivers Best Conversion Rate

monetate-conversion-rates-by-traffic-source-q22011-q22012-aug2012.pngIn terms of Q2 2012 conversion rates, email (4.25%) easily outperformed search (2.49%), with both far ahead of social (0.59%). Email’s 4.25% conversion rate was the highest in the report’s 5-quarter reporting period (going back to Q2 2011), up from 3.82% in Q1 2012, and 3.65% in Q2 2011. Similarly, although the conversion rate for traffic from social networks was much lower than for search and email, it represented a high for the reporting period, up from 0.48% in Q1, 0.56% in Q4 2011, and 0.37% in Q2 2011.

Conversion rates for search traffic have been more volatile during the past 5 quarters, ranging from a low of 2.12% in Q3 2011 to a high of 2.96% in Q4 2011, with the other quarters somewhere around the mid-point of that range.

Other Findings:

  • Search continued to dominate the share of inbound referral traffic in Q2, at 34.79%, compared to 4.38% for email and 2.85% for social. This was search’s largest share of inbound traffic for the 5 quarters reported.
  • Google traffic (2.17%) continued to outperform Facebook traffic (0.93%) in conversion rate, though the conversion rate for Facebook traffic was far higher than for Q1 (0.75%), and also higher than in any of the previous 4 quarters.
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